Alexander Lukashenko: In spite of different sizes of India and Belarus, we have much to offer India


Alexander Lukashenko: In spite of different sizes of India and Belarus, we have much to offer India

President Alexander Lukashenko on September 7 met with the Minister of Trade and Industry of India as well as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Belarus.

In 2014, trade turnover between the two countries stood at just over $400 million, and in H1 2015 it already amounts to more than $300 million. Industry, mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals, and potash are areas in which Belarus and India can find common ground for cooperation.

It is the second meeting of Alexander Lukashenko with Indian partners in 2015. The Head of State stressed that the basis of successful bilateral relations are economy and trade.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
We had fruitful talks here and agreed on many things with the head of India. And I think that your visit will be valuable also because we will proceed to the practical implementation of those agreements.  Trade and economic relations is the foundation of our relationship. The work of ministries of Belarus and India will determine the success of our collaboration in all areas.
Naturally, we don't have any closed topics in our relations. Nothing prevents us from cooperating in any direction. And I want to reiterate this commitment. We are ready for open cooperation with your country. Despite the different sizes of India and Belarus, we have much to offer India. And if you have interest, we will show you all that we are capable of. And if, after that, you have interest in some subject or matter, we are ready to cooperate with you to implement projects in a particular area of cooperation. So we are your friendly country. Relations between India and Belarus have been good since the Soviet times. The Soviet Union and India built an excellent base of relations. Therefore, we will use this friendship and the close ties that were established between our countries decades ago.

In 2014, joint trade exceeded $400 million.

Belarus exports to India potash fertilizers, dumpers, and synthetic yarn. The main imports are drugs, fish, coffee and tea. In recent years, the dynamism of Belarusian-Indian trade has declined slightly, but there are areas for cooperation.

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of India:
Belarus, being a part of the Soviet Union, cooperated actively with India. And we appreciate the ties that India maintains with countries in the region. The visit of our president to Belarus will long remain in our memory. Our head of state declared Belarus a country with a free market. And it was well received. India allocated Belarus a credit line of $100 million. We hope that we can find projects that will eventually be implemented using this line.

India is one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Belarus. The dialogue at the political level and is now actively developing.

Alexander Lukashenko:
I've recently talked with your president. I was very pleased to talk with him. I have recently met the heads of China and Pakistan, by the way. And I say this because talking to the President of Pakistan, we discussed your country, India, and the efforts that you take to normalize relations fully with that country. I was pleased to hear his assessment, good assessment in relation to your state. And we very much wish you and we hope that these two major powers, especially your state, will be able to fully normalize relations with your neighbor.

India is the largest country in South Asia in terms of territory and population. This is the third economy in the world. The country has the second largest labor force in the world.

Belarus is holding talks with India on the creation of a powerful industrial center, which will feature the largest Belarusian machine-building enterprises.

In many areas, projects are already being implemented. Minsk Bearing Plant has recently signed a contract with Indian partners for $1 million. Belarusian goods are now being used by India's stone crushing plants. There are about half a million of them on the outskirts of Calcutta alone.

Alexander Labusov, CEO of Minsk Bearing Plant:
This contract will affect sectors such as railways and Indian steel industry. The contract itself is one-year long but on a monthly basis, we ask their side about the specification for the supply of certain bearings.

This is the largest Belarusian-Indian project, whose results are already quite visible. CHP-2 provides with energy almost the entire residential sector and industrial enterprises of Grodno. Modernization of the facility was conducted jointly with Indian partners, who supplied the main equipment for the CHP. Experts have calculated that the reconstruction of the station, which cost nearly $100 million, will be repaid in less than four years.

Powder Metallurgy Institute has been cooperating with India since Soviet times. Alexander Ilyushchenko has recently returned from that country. There, he discussed the prospects of further scientific cooperation. The sides have plans to establish a profile of the Belarusian-Indian research center.

Now the Belarusian institute is developing parts for the military industry of India. Over the past eight years, it has fulfilled about 10 major contracts.

Alexander Ilyushchenko, director of the Institute of Powder Metallurgy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus:
The total amount of work done over the past five years amounts to more than $4.5 million. This work continues today, with new contracts being signed. Today our Institute signed a contract for $0.5 million on the development of advanced materials operating at high temperatures and corrosive environments.

Belarus and India expect new investments and joint ventures in the short term.

A center of Belarusian equipment will appear in India. Belarus will get a modern Indian medical complex.

An important point of interaction will be the preparation of the agreement on free trade zone of India and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus:
One of the proposals is the center of Belarusian equipment, which will feature such brands as BelAZ and Amkador, maybe also tractor and automobile factories. Together with Indian partners we will establish a the center, which will be responsible for pre-sale preparation, localization to a certain extent, maintenance and training of staff who will then be able to support Belarusian equipment.

Another area of ​​cooperation is education. In 2014, 150 Indian students graduated from Belarusian universities. Especially popular are medical and IT training courses. Incidentally, India is one of the world's largest providers of IT services. Belarusian programmers are also in demand far outside Belarus. The parties intend to combine efforts in this direction.